Inflation, consumer prices St. Maarten increased by 5.2 per cent


PHILIPSBURG--The twelve-month average of consumer prices was 5.2 per cent higher in February 2012 than in February 2011, representing an increase in the inflation rate of 100 per cent during this period, according to the Department of Statistics (STAT).

The department said on Monday that all nine expenditure categories had recorded inflation in February 2012: Housing at a rate of 4.9 per cent, which is the category with the largest influence (39 per cent); Transportation and Communication at a rate of 4.6 per cent, which is the second largest category (20 per cent); and Food at a rate of 11.1 per cent, which is the third largest category (10 per cent).

It is noteworthy that although Food is the third largest category, it has the second largest contributing influence on the overall inflation rate. This results directly from the soaring inflation recorded in this category.

Additionally, the consumer price index for St. Maarten increased by 2.6 per cent in the month of February 2012 compared to December 2011. The rate of inflation has shown steady growth since April 2011, reaching an all-time high of 5.2 per cent in February 2012.

Eight of the nine expenditure categories became more expensive in February 2012, whilst one became cheaper.

Among the more expensive were the categories Food (+1.4 per cent); Clothing and Footwear (+1.0 per cent); Housing (+4.6 per cent); Household Furnishing and Appliances (+1.1 per cent); Medical Care (+0.4 per cent); Transport and Communication (+1.3 per cent); Recreation and Education (+2.2 per cent); and Miscellaneous (+0.8 per cent); whereas Beverages and Tobacco (-0.2 per cent) became slightly cheaper.

The categories with the largest influence in the basket are Food (10 per cent), Housing (39 per cent) and Transport and Communication (20 per cent). The expenditure category Housing impacted the overall index the most in February 2012, with a significant increase (+4.6 per cent) in consumer prices of this category.

Even though the expenditure category Recreation and Education has a less significant impact (6 per cent) on the total index, it recorded the second greatest price increase (+2.2 per cent) in February 2012 relative to December 2011.